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You keep forgetting to take a photo of it before you’ve eaten it. We’ve had all our breakfasts in the hotel’s restaurant Luques. NosyNeighbour has eaten breakfast burritos, Italiano omlettes and fruit. I’ve had fruit smoothy, cereal, fruit, Summer Love (juice, coffee, 2 eggs, sausage and home fries). Really tasty with excellent service, can’t beat it.

Too bad it was spoiled by an awful smell someone left in the elevator. The other passenger noticed that the people leaving were stifling their giggles and soon realized why. And you thought it was only us!

Today we’ll hike up and over Powell to Fisherman’s Wharf, then walk back along the Embarcadero. We have a book with walks of San Francisco and I’ve made a few notes on farmer’s markets and interesting architecture to pass the time until our shuttle at 4:00 to the airport.

This may be the last post until we arrive in New Zealand, but I’ll see about using the free wi-fi at SFO.

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Dinner at Sears Fine Food

Last night’s supper was delicious. We went to Sears Fine Food, just next door to the hotel and were impressed with the quality and value of our meals. Maybe the beer was a bit expensive, but my fried cod with sweet potato fries and mixed green salad were scrumptuous. Or was it that I was soooo hungry after all that walking? They even give you a Sears coin to play in the slot machine on the way out to win a meal. I’ve kept ours to try on our return trip.

Nosyneighbour seemed to like his paella, but I think it’s too much work taking mussels and shrimps out of their shells. Maybe that’s why I’m not a big seafood eater – it’s just too much work when I’m hungry. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s only 5 p.m. and I’m already exhausted. We walked from 9:30 this morning until 4 this afternoon and my feet are feeling it.

Our day started with a much healthier breakfast than yesterday’s in Luques, the hotel restaurant. I had a strawberry banana pineapple smoothie and a bowl of Special K (with low fat milk). Rob had an Italiano omlette with a side of fruit salad. Both were very tasty and our waiter was exceptional again. Even in his broken English, he was adorable and attentive. Read the rest of this entry »

While Rob worked on fixing the laptop, I actually read the Where magazine and discovered a few choices for dinner. See, there was life before the Internet. Once the photos were back on the camera then back onto the computer, we chose our restaurant for dinner: the Burger Bar.

Initially we sat at the bar, and then moved to a window seat to order our meal. Between watching pedestrians running across the road trying to dodge raindrops and people wandering through Union Square, the view couldn’t have been better.

The restaurant itself reminded me of a cross between Pub Italia and the Works back home.  Except for one thing.

It’s gotta be a US way of cooking ground beef. Sorry, but I still remember: it’s not done until 71. Here, they offer up hamburger raw, and saying you want it “cooked” gets you some strange looks.

Not having a camera is already starting to bother me. Before supper, we could hear people hollering on the street below through the partially opened window. I was thinking that great it’s Friday night and the riff raff is out and then I remembered that San Francisco started the “Take back the night” bike days on the last Friday of the month.

Sure enough, we looked out and could see them cycling up Gerard, turn right on Powell and circle around Union Square. I wish I’d had a camera because one bike had neon lights on its wheels. A sight I won’t forget, and that I won’t be able to share with you.

Today’s forecast was supposed to have been cloudy in the morning and showers in the afternoon. This meant that Nosyneighbour got his wish of visiting a museum. Well, sort of. We went to the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.

He was responsible for figuring out how to get there. We hummed and hawed over walking, but it was over an hour and a half, and I wasn’t sure about my foot. So instead we opted for the MUNI – San Francisco’s version of OC Transpo. Downtown six lines run underground like a subway then switch the roads like a streetcar.

We were taking the N line to the end at Ocean View. Just as we arrived on the platform, a MUNI employee announced that trains were delayed but moving and could we all be patient.

We waited, and waited, and waited. Lots of J, K and L trains arrived, painfully stacking up in the tunnel and then slowly grinding to a halt at the platform, waiting again to get a green light to leave. And then the next one would arrive.

After 35 minutes we finally saw our letter and boarded, and then sat and waited to get our green light at the next three stations before it finally got to open track.

Just after it left the tunnel, it stopped in front of a charity store and a few people got on board. One of them eventually made it to our car, just in front of the doors. He sat down cross-legged on the floor, placing a satchel beside himself.

After a few minutes, he rummaged through his satchel and pulled out a “fresher” looking pair of trousers. He looked like he was hearing voices, and all the passengers close to him were hoping that they weren’t telling him to take off his clothes.

He tried to put the “newish” pants over top of his grubby ones, but couldn’t do it. Off they came and back into the satchel. Then he pulled out a remote control and stared at it as if wondering what it turned on. After a while he decided it had turned on the voices and he began to groan and groan and groan.

A passenger who was getting off at the next stop stood beside us near the door and said, “Guess it’s casual Fridays.” He smiled and got off the train.

We rode to the end of the line, Ocean View and crossed the Pacific Highway to Ocean Beach. The surf was spectacular, and signs were installed every 50 meters or so reminding people of the rip tide that can take even waders out to sea. Then we walked through Golden Gate Park to the Academy of Sciences.

The Academy of Sciences is a pretty cool green building. Rob had discovered that you get a $3 discount if you take public transit, so it basically meant that the MUNI ride there and back only cost us $1 each.

It was loaded with kids jumping and screaming, but I suppose that’s to be expected at a museum.  But today was NosyNeighbour’s day while I followed along with the camera trying to look thrilled.

In the Africa corner, I tried to worm my way up to the penguin display but every time a penguin swam toward me the gaggle of children would bump into me spoiling my photo.

From there we entered the rainforest, with the aquarium at the bottom and birds and butterflies flying throughout.  For quite some time I tried taking movies of butterflies, particularly the blue one. Grrrr they are simply much too fast and erratic fliers!

At the end, you take the elevator to the basement to the underground aquarium. You actually walk under what you were looking down into. In one corner three museum workers were standing behind a tank almost looking like they were there to sell you lobsters.

In fact, it was a starfish petting zoo. And that was when it happened …

The camera broke. The photo button had fallen off. In the dark we ran our fingertips over the floor feeling for it, while children bounced off the step after touching fish in the tank.

I found it put it back on but it wouldn’t stay. We thought maybe a bandaid (literally) might work, but it seems to be missing a spring now and is completely kaput. Sigh.

After the aquarium we went out onto the living roof. It was much more interesting than the War Museum because it has domes with skylights and different plants (9 all together).

Then we walked back to the N line for the ride home, still under sunny skies.

The cars were quite full and people watching was interesting. A young Asian mother clipped her toddler’s nails at the back, just in front of us, as we rode backwards watching the neighbourhoods disappear behind us.

More and more passengers embarked, people of all different stripes and walks of life.  A large African American working class man boarded the back of the train and cooed at the little girl. He was wearing headphones and at first I didn’t think he was talking to her.

But just before he left, he brought out a dollar bill and gave it to her saying she had nice skin, really pretty skin.

The girl’s mother said thanks and he wished them both a nice day as he jumped off the train. That was totally unexpected…

Now it’s time to find a supper location and do some research on cameras.

Okay, that didn’t work  because somehow the computer lots its ability to find the Internet connection. After a couple of hours Rob had to reformat the whole thing and reinstall everything. GRRRRR!

Check out Flickr for pics.

Our United Airlines flight to SFO is about half full, but we were warned not to move up to the seats ahead of the wings unless we were willing to bring out our credit cards to pay for the upgrade.  The captain even reminded passengers that it’s flu and cold season and that we should cover our coughs and sneezes in these cramped quarters. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s funny how the last few days the topic of New Zealand has crept into my life. First, on Tuesday when I was getting my legs waxed, Kate mentioned that her sister had applied to do a teacher exchange with New Zealand. Read the rest of this entry »

Pawprints in the snow ... Timbit's feline friends pay their respects.

Twelve … the number of months in a year
The number of years you were here.
Sometimes a biter,
A neighbourhood fighter,
A strategic hunter,
A cat toy bunter,
The pet calendar winner.
Sometimes fatter, sometimes thinner,
And a cuddly, furry friend.

Your good-bye kiss.
One last heartbeat.
How I will miss …
your head at my feet
to put me to sleep.

Pawprints in the snow
It’s so hard to let you go.

With hiking season long gone and not much new snow on the ground, we’ve decided that snowshoeing will be our way of staying in shape.

We bought our snowshoes, complete with retractable poles, last year at Costco. In fact, it was actually the poles that drew me in. I had wanted some for hiking to help protect my aging knees from long downhills at the end of a hike. They really felt it when we hiked from the start of Ridge Road near Old Chelsea up to the Champlain Lookout and back.

Last weekend we brought the snowshoes out to Kanata. We opted not to convert the baskets and took the crosscountry ski poles instead. That was a mistake. Your stride isn’t nearly as long on shoes as it is on skis. I also learned not to follow NosyNeighbour’s suggestion of “Let’s take this trail and see where it goes,” especially when you’ve only eaten a grapefruit, started your day with some special “Christmas Cream” in your coffee and have no snacks for along the trail. Needless to say I was parched and peckish after finishing that loop, which took almost an hour and a half. Thankfully, my lumpy foot held up okay but it was starting to feeling the pressure of repetitive slapping against the frozen ground. Read the rest of this entry »

The "before" pic courtesty of streetview


Our original plan today was to have breakfast at John’s with a neighbour. But her plans changed and as we walked along Wellington towards John’s, I remembered something that WalkPool Buddy said to me: John’s is always full of unruly young children that bounce on the seats and bump up against your table as they wait for theirs. 

Sure enough, we looked in and there they were … munchkins everywhere, standing on the seats, jumping, staring at us as we looked in. So we continued on to WalkPool Buddy’s recommended breakfast spot: Fil’s Diner on Wellington between Holland and Parkdale. Read the rest of this entry »

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